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University of Iowa Football

Media Conference
Saturday, October 1, 2016

Kirk Ferentz
Postgame Press Conference
KIRK FERENTZ: So obviously today was a
disappointing outcome for our players, coaches, fans.
We had a great crowd out there. They were really into
it. Just not a good way to finish.
Ultimately we didn't play well enough, we didn't coach
well enough, and Northwestern did a better job today.
As we move forward, the biggest thing we have to do is
try to eliminate the things that have been holding us
back right now. It's a fine line between winning and
losing typically, and I think a lot of our issues right now
are things that we've got to try to get cleaned up a little
bit. 3rd down obviously, stopping the run, and the
biggest thing is just playing cleaner and more efficient,
and those little mistakes, those little errors tend to put
us in a position to make it difficult to have success, and
those are things we've really got to do a better job of.
We've been focused on that. It didn't show up today,
so we'll keep pushing for it.
We'll go back to work tomorrow. It's the 24-hour rule
like always, and we'll see what we can do there. The
bottom line is right now we're a 3-2 football team with a
lot of football left, but clearly we need to improve, and
that's the task for tomorrow.
Q. Last year you talked a lot about just like the
small margin between being a 12-0 team and a 7-6
team. What are the things that are happening right
now that maybe didn't happen prior to today?
KIRK FERENTZ: A lot of it is self-inflicted quite frankly.
I'll start with the penalties, the penalty situation. We
came into the season playing pretty clean football the
first two games, and one thing we are, we're protecting
the football pretty well. The turnover-takeaway deal
has been good for us. But those penalties, the little
things that look almost somewhat innocuous, the
impact they have or can have, they're really big.
The one situation in the second quarter, it looked like it
was going to be a 1st down and ends up being we got
a holding penalty or whatever and end up in a long
yardage situation. We're not good enough to dig out of
those kinds of situations, especially when we put
ourselves in a hole. We've got to make sure if we're in
a hole it's because the defense put us there, not

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Q. Desmond had a ton of return yards. Is that a

testimony to his ability?
KIRK FERENTZ: Yeah. I thought our guys battled until
the end. That was a positive, and the biggest positive
was our kicking game today. We thought we'd have an
opportunity in the return game on both phases, but still,
the guys have to block well, and then Desmond and
Riley both did a good job returning. Yeah, really
pleased; they work hard. Both those guys I'm sure are
really tired right now.
Q. Riley had a big day today; for a fifth-year senior
who came in as a walk-on, is that in any way
gratifying to see him step up?
KIRK FERENTZ: I thought he did a good job last year
for us as a reserve receiver, and then also played
special teams in a real quiet way, but he did a great job.
And certainly with Matt out now, he's got to take a
bigger role offensively. But he improved during spring
ball, had a really good camp, so with every phase he's
taken positive steps.
Somehow we're going to have to try to keep him a little
bit more fresh because he got worn out today. But he's
just a heck of a football player, great attitude.
Everybody needs to follow his lead because he's really
on the right track.
Q. You guys were sacked six times today, and CJ's
last interception he was hurried on that one. What
do you see there, is it protection, receivers?
KIRK FERENTZ: It's a little bit of everything.
Protection has not always been what it needs to be.
Sometimes it looks like there's nothing happening,
there's no rhythm or tempo to it, and we're holding the
ball back there, and that's not a good thing, either.
We're going to be in those situations. We're probably
going to have to come up with better ways probably of
getting the ball out quicker. The other thing we can do
is try and help ourselves, not be in those 3rd and longs,
the 3rd and 7, 8s and pluses, those types of things,
and some of that ties into the penalty stuff again.
Q. How much did the 79 rushing yards impact
KIRK FERENTZ: That's not good. But when you get

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six sacks, your negative yardage is going to hurt you,

and when we never get a rhythm or tempo going, which
we did in the second quarter, we looked a little bit like
we were in sync there, we looked like a pretty healthy,
good football team. But we're not doing that enough
right now, and part of that is the stuff that we inflicted
upon ourselves. Those are things that you can control
a little bit, and we've got to get better at that.
Q. Did you coaches think you'd have a handle on
this team five games into the season? We're
hearing the same things from the players.
KIRK FERENTZ: Yeah, I don't know if you ever get a
handle on a team quite frankly. It's a work in progress.
The team is a work in progress. Every week is a
different story, different adventure, and it's been that
way historically.
We're trying to shape our identity. We've had an injury
or two, so that modifies things, but it's going to be a
work in progress, and that's the work in front of us the
next six days.
Q. Did this team kind of lose it during all those
penalties that were called?
KIRK FERENTZ: The most disappointing thing in that
whole sequence was probably our lack of poise, which
got us an extra 15 yards. Penalty calls are going to
happen; good or bad, they're going to happen. But
then talking about self-inflicted things, that's just a lack
of poise. We're not good enough to give up 15 yards,
whether it's a sack, a penalty. We're just not good
enough, and not many teams are.
First thing you've got to do if you want to win games is
not beat yourselves, and I'm not talking strictly about
that penalty, but the other things that we're doing
wrong, the false starts, holds, whatever it may be.
Those are things we're going to have to clean up, and
hopefully we can get that done in a week's time.
Q. The Northwestern kid who got hurt, did you see
that or did Coach Fitzgerald say something to you?
KIRK FERENTZ: It was a pretty crisp block by one of
our players on the kick return. Everything that Pat said,
it sounds like things are okay, they were just taking real
precautionary steps. He obviously got great medical
attention, so hopefully everything is good there.
Q. (Question about playing up tempo)
KIRK FERENTZ: Up until that time we really didn't talk
about having any tempo or rhythm. We didn't have
much. It was just a little change up to try to get us in a
groove a little bit. Clearly after today's ballgame,
everything is up on the board. Everything is open
again to discussion. But that's something for us as
coaches. We're going to have to find something to get

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our guys on track a little faster, a little quicker, and

that's a coach's thing. That's also a player's thing.
We've all got to work together, and we will. We'll work
together to get this fixed.
Q. Would you say you lost a little bit of momentum
on your first drive of the third quarter when you
had to settle for a field goal?
KIRK FERENTZ: There were instances in the game
and during the season, to me good team football is
when you get an opportunity you've really got to
capitalize on it, and we've done a fair job of it this year.
Three points is better than nothing, but yeah, certainly
having great field position, and you've got some
momentum, it's an exciting play, you'd like to take it and
go with it,. That's where we're not hitting on all
cylinders right now. Good example of it.
Q. As a coach what do you have to do to not let
this team (indiscernible)?
KIRK FERENTZ: Well, that's a challenge every week,
and it's like winning, too, you've got to get your focus
back on the next opponent. Big picture wise, we have
three games until our bye week and then another four,
so we've still got seven football games, and there's a lot
of football ahead. But what's really important is what
we do, and what we do to correct problems and issues.
You're going to have them after wins and losses. We're
going to have to do it faster, work on it faster and get
there faster because we're going to play another good
football team next week.
To me the focus right now is on the next six days, how
much improvement, how well can we get better, better
prepared to play a better game.
Q. When you're losing one-on-one battles in the
pass, pass protection, is there anything in the
discussion to fix that?
KIRK FERENTZ: Yeah, there's all kinds of things you
can consider and look at. Historically we haven't done
a lot of that, and I haven't seen the film yet, I'm not
convinced that's the answer. It's probably not
something you want to hear, but to me when teams are
playing well they get into a rhythm. They tend to
protect a little bit better. But some of the instances
today, it looked like we were kind of stuck in sand there
a little bit, and I've been through that. It's not much fun
to watch it. It just feels -- but my experiences tell me
where it's not quite as bad as it seemed. It felt pretty
bad there; certainly when you get sacked it always
feels bad. But we can do some things to help that.
Chipping may be part of that, but there's some other
things, too, so hopefully we can just get in a little better
rhythm here and better tempo and be a little bit more
efficient moving the ball.

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